We caught up with Master in Management alumna Anna de Beaufort from the class of 2018 to find out what life is like after graduation. She is currently working as a Quality Assurance Specialist at Kiadis Pharma, where she has been for nearly two years now.
Can you tell us a bit about your current responsibilities in Kiadis Pharma?
Before I start talking about my responsibilities, I would like to explain a little bit about the company itself, so here goes: Kiadis Pharma is a biopharmaceutical company specialized in the development of cell-based immunotherapies for patients with life-threatening diseases. Cell-based immunotherapies mean that cells from someone’s immune system are used to fight cancer or other diseases.
I work in the Quality Assurance (QA) department as a QA Specialist. In the pharmaceutical industry, QA is essential for ensuring that products are manufactured to a safe and consistent standard. This means being responsible for monitoring company compliance to current guidelines, regulations, and applicable national and international laws, and by having appropriate oversight of all regulated outsourced and external supply activities.
As a QA Specialist, I am the business process owner of QA Systems, which includes the Training System (training according to roles, onboarding, etc.), the Quality Management System, and the Document Management System. I also facilitate and prepare weekly and monthly meetings during which quality results are presented to senior management, which is a regulatory requirement.
What is the most challenging and the most rewarding part of your job?
I guess the most challenging part of the job is the fact that it is at a small-sized biotechnology company, which means quick changes and shifting priorities. This is exciting, but can also be quite uncertain. The reason behind the reorganization was the discontinuation of the development of the company’s main drug product and stopped the ongoing phase 3 trial, which is the last phase before commercialization. This meant a complete change of strategy. This risk is inherent in working in biotech.
The most rewarding thing about my job is to be able to contribute to someone’s treatment and to know that the company has the potential to positively impact someone’s life, even though this contribution is very tiny.
Which most relevant aspects of the Management program in EADA have allowed you to perform well in your current position?
One of the most relevant aspects is being aware of the differences between people in business life with regard to national, cultural, disciplinary backgrounds, and how to deal with these differences.
Another aspect – for me – is definitely communication. Not only related to the point I mentioned above, but for presentation skills, both presenting a topic as well as being able to present (pitch) yourself. Trying to gain more confidence in this was one of the reasons I applied to the EADA program and I can say it has helped me a lot.
A third aspect, I think being able to have a business “helicopter” view is something very valuable EADA has taught me.
Something else that is relevant to me in particular, because of the company I work for, are the lessons learnt about organizational behavior and change. During my relatively short time at Kiadis, I got to experience a complete reorganization and an upcoming acquisition by a large pharmaceutical company.
Do you have any advice for future EADA students?
My advice would be to not take anything you learn or experience during your time at EADA for granted. One thing is being able to join the program, but another is how much you learn and how much it adds to your personal and professional development. This then translates into: try and take as much out of it as you can.
It might seem normal to us to study at EADA and to be surrounded by so many different nationalities and backgrounds, but it adds an extra layer to our life and perspective. It is really unique and not something everyone can experience at such a relatively young age.